Man accused of intentionally coughing at Mounties after saying he has COVID-19
Published Tuesday, April 7, 2020 2:46PM MDT Last Updated Tuesday, April 7, 2020 3:38PM MDT
EDMONTON -- A 59-year-old man has been arrested on assault charges after he allegedly coughed into two police officers' faces during a disturbance call in Wetaskiwin.
Mounties were called to a home in the area of 48 Street and 49 Avenue early Sunday afternoon after receiving a report of a man yelling and swearing.
They determined the man was breaching release conditions and took him into custody.
That's when the man stated he had COVID-19 and intentionally coughed into an officer's face, according to RCMP.
He then coughed into another officer's face when he was being processed at the detachment, police said.
Dwight Tootoosis has been charged with two counts of assault on a police officer, two counts of failing to comply with undertaking, mischief under $5,000 and failure to comply with the Public Health Act.
He was expected to appear in court via CCTV Tuesday.
Alberta RCMP later issued a news release confirming it's the first time such an incident involving Mounties has led to charges in the province.
"The threat to transmit the COVID-19 virus is a threat to the wellbeing and health of our members which is a criminal offence,” said Asst. Comm. John Ferguson. "To actually carry out these threats would be an Assault on a Peace Officer."
RCMP said though it's the first incident resulting in charges, several Mounties have reported being threatened to be coughed on by people who claim to be COVID-19 positive.
A similar incident involving an Edmonton bus driver and transit peace officers resulted in charges against a man last week.